Never let it be said that HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE are an easy band to pigeonhole. With each successive album veering off in a completely different direction to the last, Dead Revolution sees them hop aboard a time machine which they allow to crashland in the first half of the 1970s, while Uli Jon Roth era SCORPIONS, Neverneverland by THE PINK FAIRIES and Selling England By The Pound by GENESIS play in the background.
Dead Revolution was recorded on vintage equipment with as little technological interference as possible. The result of that is a warm, earthy tone throughout and the album feels as though it evolved from plugging-in, playing and picking the juiciest morsels to build the songs around. Frontman John Cobbett and his merry band have been through a number of line-up changes over the years and the troupe responsible for Dead Revolution include DEATH ANGEL Tubthumper Will Carroll.
The first few seconds of opening track The Velvet Inquisition bear close resemblance to the opening few seconds of Kingslayer by GRAND MAGUS. Gradually other influences come to the fore; there a hint of NWOBHM in places, a gentle sprinkling of Hammond organ in others and although there are psychedelic flourishes, its unmistakably a driving rock track.
The title track is next up and its held together by a big, beefy riff while the keyboards and Cobbett’s world-weary vocal fight out a duel. Dead Revolution is a more straightforward song than The Velvet Inquisition, but after two songs the album as a whole is already beginning to expose its underlying character.
Sea of Heroes is the most out and out metal song on the album. The Precipice is up next and begins its eight minute journey with what sounds like a souped-up military drum beat which is quickly joined by another raw, old school metal riff. The Precipice is the most complex track on Dead Revolution and the simplest one to pin the ‘Psychedelia’ tag to. Despite its length and multitude of about turns, HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE handles its idiosyncrasies with aplomb.
Here Comes The Sky takes the pace down a peg or two. Based around a slow, shuffling drumbeat and ethereal multi-layered vocals, the guitars attempt, but fail, to rev the song’s engines. The overall effect is like laying on your back in a field watching the sun slowly set.
Flying Solo is a barnstormer of a song. Its nearest peer on Dead Revolution is The Velvet Inquisition, but to these ears has a dollop more melody and commercial appeal if removed from the context of Dead Revolution.
Album closer Days of ‘49 will bring a massive smile to your face every time you hear it. It started life in the late 19th century as a poem written about the California gold rush. Since then, its become something of a staple in folk circles, Bob Dylan and Fairport Convention amongst others have recorded it, but here given the psyche rock treatment it takes on a completely new and very welcome persona.
Dead Revolution takes a variety of influences and carefully melds them together into a surprisingly cohesive whole. Its clearly a labour of love and one that will continue to reveal hitherto unseen parts of its psyche with every listen.
Dead Revolution is out now via Metal Blade Records.
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